I am a HUGE fan of Open Source.  When I received an invitation to check out Zurmo I was immediately interested.  First of all because someone thought enough of what I have done in the past to invite me to take a look at their product... and I have to say, second of all because someone is reading my stuff.... Thanks Ray.

So what is a CRM application used for?  I took a look at Wikipedia for a deffinition.  It was an interesting read.... particularly the challenges.  Probably a simpler introduction would be found by viewing the screencast "What is a CRM?".  It seems the rest of the screencasts (so far) is aimed towards developers.  The website is going to be a good source for documentation.  They already have a Tutorial section as well as a wiki.

How does Zurmo measure up?  I checked out the Demo Site and when I logged in as a user I thought I was playing a game as it said I had reached a new level and had a badge for having a certain number of logins.  (After I closed them I wished I had taken a screen shot.)  As it turns out, they have designed a fairly complicated reward system into Zurmo.  These rewards add to the XP (experience points) displayed in the LeaderBoard which enhances the competition between agents.  

The second thing that I noticed is how the GUI is laid out in a dashboard for a quick overview of status.  One can add / delete "portlets" to the dashboard and then re-arrange them by dragging and dropping.  Nicely done.

One dashboard not enough for you?  You can create other dashboards to display different portlets and very easily switch between them.   Oh I just found a bummer... one of the portlits on the Dashboard is Zurmo News.  Clicked on the link and it didn't open in a new window.  I wonder if it can be configured as a preference.   Hmmm... if it can I don't see it.  Well, mark it up as a Future Enhancement.  Also when I click on the home breadcrumb it tells me I don't have access to the page.  I can select Dashboard to get back to the dashboard.

Zumero will help your team keep track of Accounts, Leads, Contacts, and Opportunities.  So, I'm tryig to walk my way through the process of taking a Lead, who is has the potential of generating revenue... and converting to a Contact who is qualified... proven.  I dont know if it is because it is a demo site or because the tutorial has changed.  I don't see the "convert" link.  Ok... let's install it.  Simple enough... all it requires is php 5.3.0 or newer, mysql and memcache (optional).  Ok... I'll be back... I have to install a virtual server.

Sorry, I got distracted.  I installed the virtual server and was in the process of installing Zurmo when I hit a wall.  I don't remember what the problem was because over a month has past. For some reason it would not run and I got a new job and have not been able to get back to it.  My apologies.

If you are in the market for a CRM package I would recomend you take a look at this. 

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